An Intro to Evernote and Why It's So Useful for Working Online

Introducing You to One of the Best Tools on the Web for Staying Organized

Cloud Computing
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We do a lot of our work on computers these days.We carry our smartphones with us everywhere. We’re addicted to checking our email. We live in a world dominated by information. So isn’t it about time we all start using an all-in-one tool that to help us create and organize all of that information?

For many professionals and casual web users, Evernote has become the ultimate note-taking and archiving tool of choice for collecting information, keeping it all neatly organized and even collaborating with others.

If you use more than one computer or mobile device on a daily basis, Evernote may be something you should seriously consider checking out.

Also recommended: 10 Cloud-based Apps for Creating To-Do Lists

What Exactly Is Evernote?

Evernote is a cloud-based software service designed for creating, organizing and storing various of media files. Whether it’s a text document, a photo, a video, an audio file or even a web page, Evernote keeps all of your stuff stored up in the cloud (as opposed to locally on your computer or mobile device) through your very own personal Evernote account.

If you're familiar with other popular cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox or Apple's iCloud, then you can sort of think of Evernote as the same kind of service. Evernote, however, is focused more on the creation of notebooks and notes as opposed to uploading files directly from your machine and offers different features that you can't get from other competing services, which is why many users consider it to be their top choice for cloud storage and file management.

When you upload a file or make a change to an existing file in Evernote on one machine, like your laptop computer, it will sync up all changes across your entire account so even when you access it from a different machine, like your iPhone or tablet computer, everything will already be automatically updated with the changes you previously made.

And because it's all stored on servers in the cloud, your files and notes won't take up tons of storage room on your computer or mobile device. You also won't lose anything if any of your machines are damaged.

Recommended: Get Free Cloud Storage with Dropbox

Why Use Evernote?

Evernote is useful for managing all sorts of different personal and professional online aspects of your life. If you use a computer at work and a computer at home, accessing files from each machine through Evernote is much easier than emailing it to yourself or saving it to a USB every time you update it.

Since Evernote automatically syncs everything up between your devices whenever you upload something new or make any changes to your notes or files, you're not limited to working with just one machine for storing everything. And because it's designed to be a complete virtual filing system that makes finding any individual notebook, note or other type of file easily, you never have to worry about saving something on your computer and then forgetting where you saved it.

You can use Evernote for something as simple as a shopping list, which you could create on a computer and later access from your smartphone when you’re shopping.

Alternatively, you could use Evernote for business purposes by sharing files and collaborating on projects with colleagues.

Here are some other common ways you could use Evernote:

  • Collecting recipes
  • Taking screenshot images
  • Working together with other team members on files
  • Saving files based on geographic location
  • Bookmarking pages on the web
  • Adding notes to file attachments

Evernote on Your Computer and Mobile Device

Since the goal of Evernote is to sync up all your stuff in the cloud and make it accessible no matter where you’re accessing it from, the makers of the service had to make sure it really shined when used on from mobile devices. You can download the Evernote app for free to use on iOS or Android.

You also get the opportunity to expand and enhance your Evernote experience by integrating with more apps from its App Center that serve everything from business and productivity to lifestyle and travel. For example, there are options to integrate it with Google Drive and Microsoft Outlook so you never have to waste time switching between apps.

Recommended: 5 of the Best Free Cloud Storage Providers and Their Features

Working With a Basic Evernote Account

If you’re still a little confused and unsure of how you might use this tool, here’s a short breakdown of some of the main features that come with a free account. This will help paint a better picture for you in terms of how you might be able to use it.

Notes: Notes are the pieces of information you keep in Evernote. As mentioned above, that note could come in the form of a written document, an image, a web page, or something else.

Notebooks: Notebooks are sort of like folders. You can keep a collection of notes in your notebooks and keep them organized by giving them categorical names.

Tags: Tags are another helpful way to organize and quickly locate one or many notes of a particular topic — especially if two notes are somewhat related but belong in different notebooks. Simply enter a keyword tag in the tag section of your note for easy access.

Atlas: If you allow Evernote to access your location, it will geocode your notes for you on a number of interactive maps. This is useful if you travel a lot or need to attach certain photos or documents to specific locations.

Trunk: The trunk shows you all the other tools available, along with some starter resources for users new to Evernote. This is the place to go if you want to know exactly how to use Evernote features correctly.

Web Clipper: This is a really neat little tool. It’s basically a bookmarking tool to help you save web pages by letting it access your web browser data and tab activity. Everything is connected to your Evernote account and you can even browse through your own notes with the web clipper.

Free Evernote vs. Upgraded Evernote

Evernote is truly an amazing piece of software, and you can do just fine with the free version if you're not looking for a system that isn't too advanced. In fact, the free version may just have all that you really need. It comes with everything discussed above.

There are, however, several premium options that offer larger upload capacities, better options for sharing, access to history of your notes, an option to search for PDFs, an ad-free experience and lots more other great stuff. There’s also a complete business version of Evernote for professionals who want to take collaboration to the next level with the help of great web technology.

Keep in mind that a free Evernote account only allows you to use it on up to two devices. So if you have more than two machines, you may want to think about upgrading to a paid Plus or Premium account.

If you end up using the free version nearly every day like I do, it may be worth the upgrade. To find out more about Evernote or to download it for yourself, check out Evernote.com.

Next recommended article: How to Use the Evernote Web Clipper to Save Anything You Find Online for Later